Once considered ritual, the benefits of mindfulness meditation (in which people learn to watch their thoughts and feelings without judging them) have been documented in several studies.
The literature suggests that ongoing practice is important to maximize the benefits. Practice makes perfect!
Other studies have shown that mindfulness meditation may improve well-being in healthy individuals. A study published in 2014 reported that an 8 week mindfulness meditation program improved scores in three character scales describing:
To note, the benefits were significant only in those groups who were engaged in consistent daily meditation practice (versus the group that attended training but did not have consistent home practice).
A different study including 282 subjects found that one semester of mindfulness meditation was able to improve learning effectiveness, attention and memory aspects of cognitive performance. Compared to the control group, the subjects doing meditation exhibited significantly better performance for computer cognitive tasks including: